|Slaughter Introduces Legislation to Prevent Asian Carp From Entering Great Lakes|
Stop Invasive Species Act Sets Timeline for Plan to Stop Asian Carp From Wreaking Havoc on the Local Ecosystem and Economy
Rochester, NY – Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (NY-28), Co-Chair of the Congressional Great Lakes Task Force, today announced that she has introduced bipartisan legislation that would require the speedy creation of an action plan to block Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes through a number of rivers and tributaries across the Great Lakes region.
The Stop Invasive Species Act, H.R. 4406, was introduced today by Slaughter along with Republican Representative Dave Camp (MI-4). Slaughter has been a long-time champion of the Great Lakes understanding that the Lakes are the largest source of freshwater on earth and need to be protected for future generations, not only because they support our local ecosystem, but also because they are a leading economic driver for communities across Upstate New York.
"The Great Lakes make up 20 percent of the world's freshwater and we must do everything we can to protect them. In Western New York, we rely on the Great Lakes for fishing, shipping and recreation and the introduction of Asian carp could be devastating to the Lakes' ecosystem and regional economy," said Slaughter, a co-chair of the Congressional Great Lakes Task Force. "Time is a luxury we don't have which is why this legislation to expedite the protection of the Great Lakes from this damaging invasive species is so important."
Also today, Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Rob Portman (R-OH), along with Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Carl Levin (D-M), Robert Casey (D-PA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced a companion bill in the Senate.
The Stop Invasive Species Act
The Stop Invasive Species Act requires the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers to submit to Congress an expedited action plan with options for stopping Asian carp from penetrating the Great Lakes across 18 possible points of entry. The bill requires the Army Corp to submit a progress report to Congress and the President within 90 days of the law's enactment. The full plan would need to be completed within 18 months.
Under the Stop Invasive Species Act, the Army Corp would continue to examine modes of transportation across key waterways to ensure shipping could continue while mechanisms for preventing Asian carp from destroying the Great Lakes are implemented.
The bill is supported by the Great Lakes Commission, The Great Lakes Fishery Commission, Alliance for the Great Lakes, Healing our Waters Coalition, National Wildlife Federation and Trout Unlimited.
Slaughter has a long history standing up for the Great Lakes and protecting our local ecosystem, as well as preventing economic havoc that would ensue if Asian carp were to enter the Great Lakes.
Slaughter Protecting the Great Lakes from the Threat of Asian Carp
Slaughter has repeatedly noted that once an invasive species such as Asian carp is allowed to take hold in any part of the Great Lakes system, it is only a matter of time until the species spreads to the rest of the lakes.
In January, Slaughter called on the Army Corps of Engineers to move quickly on a strategy to combat the threat of Asian carp armed with new information from a study analyzing various engineering options to separate the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins in the Chicago Area Waterway System to prevent inter-basin movement of harmful aquatic invasive species, including Asian carp.
In a November letter to House Appropriations Committee leaders, Slaughter said, along with other Great Lakes advocates,
"The lakes provide invaluable recreational opportunities and support shipping, fishing, boating and tourism industries that generate 1.5 million jobs and $62 billion in wages. Restoring the Great Lakes advances our regional strategy to create jobs, stimulate economic development and invest in freshwater resources and waterfront communities."
Congresswoman Slaughter has been the Co-Chair of the Great Lakes Task Force since 2005. The Task Force is a bipartisan organization that cooperates to enhance the economic and environmental health of the Great Lakes. Founded in the mid-1980s, Task Force members work to advocate for policies and programs that enhance our unique natural resource—the Great Lakes.